It’s sort of fun being a blogger. You get compliments from some people, more often you get brickbats from others. The most common brickbat I get fired my way is that I’m an unthinking mouthpiece for republicanism. Especially the IRA. If you took these kind of charges seriously you’d be heading either for your solicitor or a mental hospital. Fortunately I don’t take them seriously. I openly concede that I approach the political world from a nationalist/republican perspective but I like to think my brain isn’t totally addled.
At the same time there’s a background implications that goes with the brickbats. It is that the mainstream media are balanced, objective, conveyors of the whole truth. If pressed, there’ll be the concession that some – say the Indo – are, how shall we put it, not totally cheerleaders for republicanism. But a broadcaster like RTÉ or a newspaper like The Irish Times is free from such selective bias.
Which makes an article in this morning’s paper a bit disruptive of that take on our media. It’s by Gerry Moriarty, and it tells how Gerry Adams is “under pressure” over the Liam Adams case. It tells how Adams has always escaped from tight political corners but this one is different. And its concluding paragraph tells the reader about “claims that Adams acted in a calculated self-interested fashion to avoid charges of with-holding information about child sexual abuse and to save his ‘political skin’ ”.
You’ve heard it all before. And you know that there are people in the media who, if they found evidence that Gerry Adams had picked his nose in 1962 would use that as a weapon to demand his removal as president of Sinn Féin. What makes the article interesting – and so many other articles like it – is the failure to mention the role of the police in all of this.
Surprising, isn’t it? Clearly it’s vital to everyone living in the jurisdiction – and beyond – that the police act in an even-handed and lawful way. Everyone by now knows that the police in 1987, instead of responding to the complaints of sexual abuse reported to them by Áine Adams and her mother, tried instead to turn her into an informer. Who were these police people? Was there much of it around? Are any of the people involved still working in the PSNI? These are surely matters of greater importance than who leads Sinn Féin.
Because if there’s another story of public interest attached to the Liam Adams case, the conduct of the police must be it. They were in possession of the crucial facts of the case in 1987 but ignored them and pursued their own tout-creating concerns. You’d think that an impartial, high-minded media would have latched onto that immediately and pursued the trail as far as possible. Nah – doesn’t fit the narrative, that. So much more fun trying to nail the top Shinners man.